By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Rain or Shine Elastopainters punched a late ticket to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs after outlasting the NLEX Road Warriors during the last elimination phase, 110-100, on December 4, 2022, held at the Philsports Arena.
It was an unusual game atmosphere for Rain or Shine’s head coach Yeng Guiao after entering the court against his former team whom he led to multiple post-season wins including successive semifinal appearances.
However, it was all business after the whistle was blown as the Elastopainters quickly ran over the Road Warriors’ interior defense with import Ryan Pearson leading the way with his aggressive drives to the basket.
The Road Warriors answered back immediately as former NBA swingman and import Earl Clark took it into the teeth of Rain or Shine’s defense and attempted to fish for fouls with every possession he held.
As NLEX figured in a cold-shooting stretch at the start of the second period, Rain or Shine took advantage and started to pull away in the game led by Pearson who went unconscious in the perimeter.
It was in the last five seconds of the third quarter when the Road Warriors gained back momentum after point guard Kris Rosales sank a hail mary half-court heave that cut Rain or Shine’s lead to just five points, 80-75.
After that sequence, NLEX completed its fight back and deadlocked the game at 87-all after Justin Chua’s strong baseline move with 7:40 remaining in the game.
However, the Road Warriors seemed to lose gas in the next three minutes of the game and failed to score a single point.
During that stretch, the Elastopainters uncorked a 9-0 run and sent in the early exclamation point after an Andre Caracut bomb in the left corner.
Pearson led the Elastopainters with 24 points and nine rebounds while Caracut led all locals with 19 big points built from 3/5 shooting from the three-point territory to go along with seven rebounds.
“Malaking bagay sa amin ito kasi after three conferences ngayon lang ulit kami nakapasok ng quarterfinals. Mas mahirap pa nga ngayon kasi nadagdagan yung teams, pero yung slot sa quarterfinals hindi naman nadagdagan. So mas mahirap makapasok sa playoffs,” said Guiao.
The hard-earned win will place Rain or Shine as the league’s no.8 team and will face the league-leading Bay Area Dragons in the playoffs.